Working to Advance Economic Development in Northern New Mexico Since 1997

10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Southwest PPE

Venture Acceleration Fund Boosts Growth for Southwest PPE

Espanola business blazes forward with new equipment, software with VAF investment


Southwest Personal Protective Ensembles (PPE) is on fire this year. The division of Española’s Mountain Air Cleaners that is fully certified to clean, inspect, repair and reconstruct personal protective ensembles was granted a zero-interest loan by the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) in 2016.


Southwest PPE cleans and repairs the suits that firefighters use to fight both structural and proximity fires as well as forest fires and wildfires. Six years into the company’s evolution, employees and owners noticed that human error plus the sheer amount of time spent on paper billing were obstructing potential growth for the company.


Enter the VAF, the only organization in Northern New Mexico that provides seed money for early-stage technology startups and growth-oriented business who lack the collateral for debt financing. Funded primarily by Los Alamos National Security (LANS) and administered by the nonprofit Regional Development Corporation (RDC), the VAF has assisted Northern New Mexico businesses at critical junctures since its inception in 2006. This year, LANS is joined by Los Alamos County, the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) as funding partners.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Vizzia Technologies

VAF Funding Helped to Fuel Vizzia Technology’s “Internet of Things” Laboratory

Tech company’s focus on giving back to the community energizes Northern NM economy and brings internship and job opportunities to STEM students


Vizzia Technologies is a boon to the Northern New Mexico business community. Locally minded, and committed to the people it employs, the company is rooted in Santa Fe but has a global marketplace. Formed in 2005, Vizzia Technologies is a leading provider of RTLS (real-time location systems) and RFID (radio frequency identification) equipment tracking mechanisms for the healthcare field

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: UbiQD

UbiQD Expects its Quantum Dot Technology Will Soon Be Ubiquitous

Startup founder says VAF helped the company fast-track growth


UbiQD’s name is a play on the words “ubiquitous quantum dots,” and ubiquitous is exactly what Dr. Hunter McDaniel wants his company’s product to be.


“We make quantum dots that are going to be everywhere in all sorts of different applications,” he said. “The quantum dots that are on the market today are toxic, expensive, and sometimes unstable. We’ve solved those problems with a new class of materials that have low-toxicity, long-term stability, and are inexpensive by comparison. This is enabling new products.”


Quantum dots are colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals—vanishingly small nanoparticles of material. According to UbiQD’s website, “simply put, quantum dots are nanomaterials reshaping how we use color and light.” UbiQD is targeting different quantum dot applications than other companies because their patented technology does not include toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead, which are found in previous generations of quantum dots.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Reverse Engineer Lab

With the Help of the VAF, Santa Fe Software Startup Advocates for Senior Citizens

Reverse Engineer Lab’s innovative app helps increase understanding of reverse mortgages


For Melissa and Pilar Patterson-Kling, trying to help family members with finances presented a career opportunity. About five years ago, they were in the process of deciding what professional field to move into next when both their mothers asked them about how reverse mortgages worked.


Their mothers, who are in their 70s and 80s, needed help paying their property taxes—big monthly bills to support on retiree incomes. The Patterson-Klings said they’d help them understand the process, but had no idea that the learning curve would be so steep.


It took six months for the Patterson-Klings to gain a basic understanding. “The only organizations we could find any information from were lenders, and the last thing you want to do is be educated by the salesperson,” Melissa said. Continue Reading

10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: NTXBio

Drug Development Startup Uses VAF Funding to Secure Patents


The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) is tasked with supporting growth-oriented industries in Northern New Mexico. Businesses in the region benefit from close proximity to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and the area has become a hotbed of technological development.


Last year, NTxBIO emerged as a natural leader for the scientific community in Northern New Mexico. The RDC administers the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) program, aimed at supporting companies that are creating high-paying jobs and attracting revenue to the Northern New Mexico region. In 2016, NTxBIO was recognized as one of the VAF winners when the RDC acknowledged the company’s potential to accomplish both these goals.


NTxBio is a revolutionary drug-development company with a system the company has created that dramatically cuts the time it takes to identify and develop new drugs. Older methods can take up to eight years, but at NTxBio, the average time has been cut to a year and a half.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: EcoPesticides

EcoPesticides Poised to Impact the Biopesticides Market

Venture Acceleration Fund investment propels startup’s UV-protectant technology to market


Katherine Rodgers, EcoPesticides’ biological technologist, is excited about the future of the company and its potential to disrupt the entire biopesticides industry. Gesturing toward a mysterious-looking piece of equipment perched on a table within the Santa Fe Business Incubator (where the company is housed), she introduces it as a key element for their future disruption.


The equipment simulates the effect of sunlight in a controlled environment. It was purchased with funds from the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF), a program that provides seed money for early-stage startups and growth-oriented companies who often lack the collateral for debt financing. The equipment supports the company’s move out of research into the field-testing stage, and—eventually—into the marketplace


The VAF is a program administered by the Regional Development Corporation (RDC), an economic development organization tasked with supporting businesses who are creating jobs and attracting revenue to the Northern New Mexico region. EcoPesticides fit squarely within that model, and was awarded VAF funding in 2016.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Tibbar Plasma Technologies

Patenting, Supported by VAF Funding, is Key for Local Startup

Tibbar Plasma Technologies Leverages VAF Funding to Secure Intellectual Property


“A company is only worth what its intellectual property is worth,” said Dr. Richard Nebel, president of the Los Alamos-based startup Tibbar Plasma Technologies, Inc. “That’s what patenting is all about.”


For many early-stage technology companies, proof-of-concept is often more important than funding. Fortunately for Northern New Mexico companies like Dr. Nebel’s, both are available through the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) program.


The Regional Development Corporation (RDC), an economic development organization with a mission of creating high-paying jobs and attracting revenue in the Northern New Mexico region, has been the administrator of the VAF program since its inception in 2006.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Etkie

Venture Acceleration Fund Fosters Creative Jobs in Native American Communities

Etkie On Track to Double Employee Rolls Annually

Every year, people flock to New Mexico to experience the culture and history, and most take a bit of it home with them in the form of jewelry or art. However, a majority of artisans, despite their talent, are excluded from being able to earn a living through their traditional and cultural expertise. Sydney Alfonso, CEO of the jewelry brand Etkie, is taking their talent to the world and creating long-term sustainable opportunities for New Mexico artisans in the process.


Etkie, founded in 2014, is a luxury jewelry brand with a twist. Alfonso has a sharp eye for design, and a commitment to sourcing her talent from underemployed communities in New Mexico. Previously, she worked with women’s co-ops in Turkey and Mongolia, helping them modernize products for a western market. Now she provides Native American beadworkers a platform to create contemporary designs using the artistic traditions passed down from generations.  The artists live on the Navajo Nation where the roads to work are long and the jobs are nonexistent. Many of them elect to work from home on the land and in the community where their roots are deeply planted.


Alfonso’s business philosophy has deep roots in social responsibility, and she views Etkie as a vehicle to preserve cultural traditions that are at risk of disappearing. A New Mexico native, she wanted to start a business in her home state, utilizing the talents that are already here and creating a way for Native American artisans to support themselves.


It was the combination of a smart business plan geared for growth and commitment to cultural preservation that led to recognition by the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) in 2015. After applying for the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF), a program administered by the RDC, Etkie was named a recipient of funds to help build the infrastructure of the young company.


The VAF is the only program that provides seed money for early-stage startups and growth-oriented companies that often lack the collateral for debt financing. Alfonso knew of the VAF as a fund with primary investments in technology and manufacturing startups but, as she made her way through the application process, was impressed to learn of the importance the VAF also places on community building.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: IR Dynamics

VAF Award Allowed IR Dynamics to Take Their Ideas to the Next Level

Innovative, highly-insulating window films cut homeowners’ electricity costs


Part of the job of economic development organizations such as the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) is keeping a finger on the pulse of the local entrepreneurial community to find ways to help boost it. And, economic developers working in primarily rural areas like the RDC’s region—Northern New Mexico—know that when you find true innovation, you do all you can to help support it.


The RDC recognized major marketplace opportunity in IR Dynamics, a producer of nanomaterials based in Santa Fe. The company produces transparent, thermally-dynamic window films that can insulate existing single-pane windows. This insulation provides a great deal of energy efficiency and can cut homeowners’ electricity costs by a significant portion each year.

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10 Jan

VAF Spotlight: Love+Leche

Love + Leche’s Handmade Products Enriched by VAF Investment


The Northern New Mexico community is central to Love + Leche, a natural personal-care product company launched in 2005 in Santa Fe. CEO Daven Lee sources her ingredients—beeswax and goats’ milk—as well as professional services locally, a commitment to the local economy.


“I’m all about community and connection,” said Lee. “What I love about my business is finding different ways to partner with local providers.”


In addition to buying beeswax for her company’s signature lotion bars from Santa Fe’s Buckin’ Bee Honey, she is part of a local goat-milking co-op, where she milks twice a month. The milk goes directly into her handmade soap.


“Goat’s milk is very mild, so a soap made with it is great for sensitive skin, babies, and people with allergies,” Lee said.


After ten years in the business, Lee changed the name of the company (formerly known as Milk + Honey) to Love + Leche. During the transition, she consulted with Regional Development Corporation (RDC) staff to strategize ways to break into new markets. The RDC is an economic development organization focused on creating and retaining jobs and attracting additional revenue to the Northern New Mexico region.

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Working to Advance Economic Development in Northern New Mexico Since 1997